DOT Rejects Plea From Parents to Expand West Village Slow Zone

By Danielle Tcholakian on July 15, 2014 2:36pm 

 A taxi turning from Sixth Avenue onto 11th Street slammed into a caregiver and a 2-year-old boy outside P.S. 41 in June 2013. Now, parents are pushing to lower the speed limit on Sixth Avenue in the Village to 20 mph.
A taxi turning from Sixth Avenue onto 11th Street slammed into a caregiver and a 2-year-old boy outside P.S. 41 in June 2013. Now, parents are pushing to lower the speed limit on Sixth Avenue in the Village to 20 mph.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

WEST VILLAGE — The Department of Transportation has rejected a push by Village parents, schools and businesses to slow traffic on Sixth Avenue.

Community leaders had asked the DOT to extend the planned West Village Neighborhood Slow Zone one block east to Sixth Avenue, to make it safer for children to walk to several schools in the area.

But a DOT spokeswoman said Tuesday that the agency would not consider expanding the slow zone, which will reduce speeds from 30 mph to 25 mph, until after the initial zone is implemented in 2015.

"Rather than extend the current slow zone now, we recommend consideration of a second slow zone between 6th and 7th avenues in the next round of implementation," a DOT spokeswoman said in a statement.

"In the meantime, the agency has initiated feasibility studies to install speed bumps around the schools in the requested expansion area."

Those schools include P.S. 41, Our Lady of Pompeii School and Academy of St. Joseph. P.S. 41's principal, Kelly Shannon, has been leading the charge for the slow zone extension since a 2-year-old boy and his babysitter were hit by a taxi in front of the school last year.

"When children's safety is involved, it is difficult for any group of supporters to be patient," Shannon wrote in a June 20 letter to Margaret Fargione, DOT's Manhattan borough commissioner.

Shannon also asked the DOT to study implementing "complete streets" along Seventh Avenue South and lower Sixth Avenue. "Complete streets" are a component of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero traffic safety initiative and would add traffic-slowing measures including pedestrian islands and protected bike lanes.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman wrote Fargione a letter on July 9 thanking her for considering pedestrian safety measures on Sixth Avenue but asking when the DOT will implement them.

"I understand that both of these projects may take some time to accomplish, but I would appreciate some indication of when my constituents can expect to see them undertaken," Hoylman wrote in the letter. 

Hoylman had not received a response as of Tuesday, his office said. 

The DOT did not respond to questions about the timeline for Sixth Avenue safety improvements. 

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